In the most compelling story to come out of Flushing, Queens since a rookie phenom named Dwight Gooden took the mound on April 7, 1984,New York Mets knuckleballer R.A.Dickey has won his 20th game of this 2012 MLB season. Why is it so compelling, you might ask? Well, look at the full circle that Dickey has had to travel in order to get to a point in his career as the favorite to win the NL CY Young award this year.
Dickey broke into MLB with the Texas Rangers in 2001 with average at best “stuff” and struggling between starting and the bullpen. After five years with the Rangers and trying to transform his forkball into a knuckleball to extend his career, he spent all of 2007 in the Milwaukee Brewers minor league organization. His knuckleball being a constant work in motion strained his ability to remain at the big league level with either the Seattle Mariners or the Minnesota Twins in 2008 and 2009, respectively. Then came the rejuvenation of Dickey with, of all teams, the Mets.
The Mets signed Dickey in 2010 to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training. All fans understand and know how the circle was filled from his first start against the Washington Nationals until now. The Mississippi river-swimming, Kilamanjaro-climbing, zen-like man finally learned just how to control the wildest of pitches with relative ease and throw it harder than any that have come before him. Today, Dickey joined some elite company in Mets history in winning his 20th game of this season.
No other Mets pitcher since Frank Viola in 1990 has won as many games and now Dickey is eyeing Gooden as the last Met to win the CY Young. Twenty-eight years have passed since Gooden’s 24-4 season and the dominance he presented that year. This year for Dickey has been almost as dominant, and one of the most impressive that a knuckleballer has ever had. So as the Mets offered $10. tickets to boost attendance in their last home game of 2012, Dickey and the Mets may not have made it easy, but they did get the win against the Pittsburgh Pirates that will most assuredly give their ace the NL CY Young award.
Dickey was cheered at every point in the game from the crowd of about 31,000, and rightfully so. The Mets have been hard to watch this second half, but every fifth day, there has been a solid reason to go to the park. The Mets as a team ended their home schedule by winning 6 out of their last 7 to allow the fans to go into the offseason with a good feeling. So congratulations to R.A. Dickey and his quest for the best pitcher in the NL. I wrote an article a couple weeks ago that stated that Dickey would not win 20 as at the time he was stuck at 17. I am glad that I was wrong, but understand that at the time, the Mets could not buy a hit and were in complete disarray.
This past week clearly shows just why Mets fans always believe. You just never know when the next miracle will come and this season has seen plenty of individual accomplishments that unfortunately have been overshadowed by another losing season.
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